The compound remodel Kalaya had ordered was in full swing.
Since Tahia was able to sell her paintings at the market again they had made quite a bit of money. Nieva helped by offering up some of her garden produce. Baato was too old to help with the woodwork but he oversaw the proceedings instead, ordering around the slaves they had borrowed from the market to do as Kalaya told.
Manika walked through the lot and passed an exchange between Baato and one of the other slaves.
“Hey, what are you doing? If you don’t work you’re no use to the Creator”, he angrily told off the red-haired slave who was standing around lazily.
“What I am supposed to do? These crates are huge!”, the slave snapped back pointing at the obnoxiously large crates. “As if someone made them extra big so I wouldn’t be able to carry them!”
“Nonsense!”, Baato explained, “Who would even do that? Just open them up here.”
The slave grumpily did as he was told and started working on the crates.
Manika walked up to her daughter who was standing at the edge of the lot, looking towards the temple.
“What are you thinking about?”, she asked.
“Direction”, Kalaya answered solemnly. “I have to figure out where this tribe is headed and what we can do next.”
“You said at the meeting you had an idea, didn’t you?”, Manika was worried. If Kalaya didn’t have a plan, what was going to happen to the tribe?
“I do”, Kalaya reassured her, “but it’s only a short-term plan. I need to come up with something more… permanent.”
“I am proud of you, you know. You’ve learned a lot while you were away.”
Kalaya nodded. “I did. And I know that we have to expand if we want to truly win back the other tribe’s respect. The name Arayeo needs to mean something again.”
Manika furrowed her brows.
“What are you saying?”
“We need more people. And we need more space.”
“There isn’t any space near here, all the land is divided between the Amazonian tribes”, Manika explained.
“I know”, Kalaya replied not daring to look at her mother. She knew she would disapprove. But it was the only way.
“I hope you don’t mean what I think you mean”, Manika said, anger rising in her voice. “War is not the answer!”
“You said it yourself, there’s no land left. The other tribes think us weak. We must-”
“Creator!”, a voice from behind them made Kalaya jump. She turned to see one of the working slaves bow at her.
“What?”, she snapped, her irritation apparent on her face.
“I am sorry to interrupt. I’m afraid there is disagreement on how you want you new bedroom modeled.”
“I don’t care about the bloody bedroom. Discuss it with Baato, he is the head of this operation. I am busy!”, Kalaya lashed out at the slave.
“I am very sorry for interrupting you, Creator. I will not happen again.”
It better not, Kalaya thought, turning back to her mother. All these borrowed slave were causing a disrupt she did not like. She’d rather have the compound to herself again but the work had to be done. The sun was setting and there wasn’t much left to do for the day.
“We will talk about this another time. But mark my words, this is a mistake”, Manika warned. Kalaya shook her head.
“It’s the only way. But nothing is set in stone yet. I agree we will discuss it at the next tribal meeting. For now, the compound remodel is priority.”
She looked over at all the slaves working hard on the house. It would show the other tribes what Tribe Arayeo was worth.
Note: Whew, the new comopound isn’t finished yet, good for everyone it didn’t have to be for this chapter since it’s “under construction”. Expect a full tour soon!
Next: Chapter 54 – An Attempt